The video communications market can be divided into three sub-markets depending on the consumer electronics (CE) device which is being used to make the call: PCs, Mobile, and living room (digital home) devices.
That being said, the living room video calling is a nascent market and currently has a relatively small user base. According to the latest market study by NPD In-Stat, they now forecast that total users will increase from 1.5 million in 2011 to 16.4 million in 2015.
Asia Pacific will be the largest market for living room video calling by a significant margin as this is the region with the highest video calling enabled device shipments.
Video communications originated on the PC and these services are significantly more mature than on other device types -- Skype, Google Talk and G+ Hangouts are examples of the popular free consumer-oriented video chat services.
While PC video calling solutions have been available for several years, these services continue to evolve in functionality. The most notable change to PC video calling is the association with social networking and the unification of these solutions with social networks.
"While the mobile market is experiencing the strongest growth in usage, the PC and living room calling markets are also experiencing a surge of large player activity," according to Amy Cravens, Senior Analyst at NPD In-Stat.
The integration of video calling with social networks -- such as the Skype integration with Facebook and the Google+ incorporation of Hangouts -- is bringing a fresh perspective to video calling scenarios.
Additionally, introducing this capability to the living room, enabling HDTV video chat, is an additional aspect of the market that is being endorsed by Microsoft as well as leading device OEMs including Panasonic, Samsung, and LG.
Key insights from the latest study include:
- The total number of video calling minutes of use will approach 550 billion minutes in 2015, a monumental increase from 141million minutes in 2010.
- Skype and Apple FaceTime are leading the mobile video calling market and had similar usage rates among mobile and tablet callers. Other leading and emerging video calling solutions include, AOL, fring, Google, Microsoft Kinect, ooVoo, Raketu, Skype, and Tango.
- The build out of 3G networks and launch of 4G will be important drivers in mobile video telephony.
- Skype says that 75 percent of their online users have made a video call.
- Active usage rates vary significantly across screen types.